When one has small children, one finds the brain often works…slowly. Every week I am reminded of this as I try to come up with fresh and interesting things to write about for this column.
I have high hopes and good intentions—each week I say to myself, “Self, you are going to write your column X number of days before deadline!” And then X number of days comes to pass, and I remember I have four kids, so I don’t do things like complete tasks ahead of time or go out to restaurants. Also, you know what they say about the road paved with good intentions and how it leads right into the 2016 presidential election.
I was talking about kids, and how other people manage to have eight kids and live like a boss. I don’t personally know those people, but they’re out there. I do know people with four kids—some with five, six, STOP!—and they seem to get stuff done. They get up before the kids and shower and blow-dry their hair, and they plan fun outings for the children during school breaks. Sometimes they dress in coordinated clothing. It’s true—I’ve seen it on Facebook. I’ve addressed ad nauseam the topic of Facebook as assassin of the ego. This is because everyone on Facebook is doing it right—happy and vacationing, at the gym, being productive. They’ve “cleaned the house top to bottom, baked a pan of granola bars, and now enjoying a cup of coffee before sunrise Pilates class!”
I read stuff like that, and then I go back to bed. I want to be that person, I want to be a Mom Marine, somebody who gets more done before 7 a.m. than most people do all day. But, nope. I’m often snoozing until 7 a.m., not a good thing because the children get on the school bus at 7:25. This yields a lot of, “Put on your shoes PUT ON YOUR SHOES where is your backpack DO YOU HAVE YOUR BINDER? Brush your teeth BRUSH YOUR TEETH GO GO GO GO GO!!!!”
It’s a far cry from my Facebook friend with the immaculate house and freshly baked granola bars, who perhaps is doing a Bible devotional with her kids before school. At any rate, she’s not saying (hollering) things like, “THIS is why I’ve said NO MORE YOGURT in the morning!!!”
It’s said comparison is the thief of joy, right? That, and another great truth—children are thieves of brain function. (These two ideas are related, I’m going to make it happen.) Really, there are studies about pregnancy brain—you’ve read them, I’m sure—and how the memory of a pregnant woman is diminished because the growing baby eats her brain cells or something. This phenomenon continues for a short while after the baby is born. The Internet says it can last a few months, but the Internet has obviously never had children because I’ve been working with a compromised brain going on 11 years now. The youngest of my four children is 3.5 years old, and I’m still waiting to return to normal. By “normal” I mean somebody who can search for an item and locate it without forgetting what I’m looking for mid-search. Multiple times each day I say—out loud—to myself, “What am I looking for?” Or, “Why am I in this room?” Followed by, “GAH! Field trip permission slip!” When what I was really looking for was a hairbrush.
So my column. I feel a responsibility to you, my lovely readers (Mom! Gail!), not to bore you with rambling nonsense. My goal is to entertain you with clever musings and/or poignant observations. Alas, sometimes art does imitate life, and I find myself wandering aimlessly through this thing and asking, “Why am I in this room?”
Let’s end with a recipe! My kids love these things, there’s no baking involved, and they’re really pretty yummy. Good after-school treats.
No Bake Energy Bites
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients and roll into balls using your hands. Arrange balls on a cookie sheet and freeze until set, about an hour. Or just eat them right away like my kids do. We sometimes throw in dried cranberries or raisins. Yum!
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)